By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC

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A New York immigration lawyer Loreto Kudera, and his wife, Hazel Kudera, the owner of several medical staffing agencies, pled guilty and forfeited $1 million after admitting to giving false information to U.S. immigration authorities when applying for H1-B visas for foreign nurses, according to plea agreement.

Hazel Kudera owned multiple staffing agencies in New York that specialized in providing nurses to hospitals, outpatient and skilled nursing facilities. According to the government, Hazel and Loreto Kudera submitted at least 100 fraudulent applications to authorities, and profited from filing fees collected from the nurses and from the health care facilities that paid Hazel Kudera’s staffing agencies.

Hazel and Loreto Kudera falsely stated that the foreign nurses would be working in specialty occupations at prevailing wage rates when in actuality they were going to work as licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or registered nurses (RNs) at much lower rates of pay.

As part of the alleged scam, Hazel Kudera falsified a staffing agreement between NYC Healthcare Staffing and Dewitt Rehabilitation listing job positions that did not exist, such as clinical coordinator and health care quality assurance manager, in order to cover up the false job titles she provided to USICS.